You Be Three. The blog name intrigued me, and when I learned there was an anesthesiologist behind it, I had to know more.
That was three years ago, and although she and I are at different places in our careers, personal lives, and location, I have found that we share some common ground that goes beyond our connection as anesthesiologists.
Like me, she has a passion for personal finance and helping others understand what they need to know to reach their goals. Like me, she likes her job, but doesn’t necessarily see it as a calling, either. Like me, she’s found that having a blog as a creative outlet can be a good complement to the structured life of the operating room.
As I did for several years, she has also chosen to remain anonymous online, and I totally get it. Still, read on and you won’t find her name, but you’ll get to know her quite well, which I suggest that you do!
Christopher Guest Post: You Be Three
What in the world is a Christopher Guest Post?
If you’re not familiar with the scene, take 50 seconds to watch this video and enjoy the dialog between Nigel and Rob Reiner.
I decided I’d start a Q&A of my own. Not satisfied with just ten questions, “this one goes to eleven”. Just like Nigel’s amplifiers.
What is your specialty or subspecialty and why did you choose it? If you could turn back time, would you choose to practice medicine and choose the same specialty? Why?
I’m an anesthesiologist with a specialty in perioperative management.
I’m one of those people who is attracted to doing things that no one else is doing, or that is off the beaten path. During medical school, I decided to get my MBA, which at the time was an unusual thing to do so early on.
Because of my business background, I looked for fellowships/experiences that would allow me to apply those concepts to my career. That’s how I found out about perioperative management. The rest, as they say, is history.
If I could do it all again, I’m actually not sure that I would choose medicine. I think I’d choose something along the lines of a business career. That being said, I’m very happy with the field of medicine I did choose and if I had to re-do medicine, I’d choose this same path.
[PoF: During medical school, I was just doing my best to get though medical school. I cannot imagine adding another degree on top of the M.D. I’m glad you found a way to use your dual degree in the medical field. And good choice on anesthesia!
I was happy with my choice of medicine and anesthesia specifically, but I think I could have been happy doing something different (like I am now). It was a good career, but there were certainly challenges along that path.]
Describe your blog and tell us why your blog would appeal to a physician seeking FIRE in eleven sentences.
Empowerment is not just about knowing yourself and being confident, it’s about taking control of all aspects of your life.
The straight path in life that we envision for ourselves is often much more convoluted. Being able to keep your head up and keep going is what matters and can make all the difference.
Through the blog, I speak of my own life experiences caring for sick parents, losing friends, being in toxic relationships, battling imposter syndrome, and starting over multiple times because of my job.
Despite all of that adversity, in the same time period, I paid off over 150k of student loans, I bought a house, I’ve traveled extensively and I’ve made some unique strides in my career.
I’ve learned a lot along the way, about life, about myself, and about what I’m capable of. I try to pass on these lessons and hope that anyone doubting themselves, or feeling like they can’t do it, is inspired to just keep going.
(I somehow managed to do this section in less than 11 sentences).
[PoF: That’s a great mission, YB3. Although most physicians I know are confident, I don’t know that most feel empowered. We tend to prioritize the needs and health of others over our own; doing so is practically a job requirement, and that’s the opposite of empowerment.]
What inspired you to start a blog of your own? Was there a particular event you remember that made you feel your blog had arrived? Any big plans for your blog in the future?
At the time I decided to start a blog, I was actively looking for and reading physician blogs. Everything I found at the time was related to finances, healthcare, and being a physician mom. One thing that seemed amiss to me was the voice of a single female professional that spoke from the point of view of just trying to live life.
Trust me when I say there are of a lot of single professionals out there trying to figure things out.
What I wanted, and ultimately decided to create, was a voice that describes what it’s like to deal with life as a single professional, for instance, how to pay off loans on your own, how to tackle dating, how to keep your head up at work, how to start over in a new city by yourself, and how to continue to improve and empower yourself along the way.
The blog has evolved quite a bit since I started it three years ago. Right after I started it both of my parents got sick, so the blog became a creative outlet. Then it turned into a hobby where I wrote what I learned, and now I’m on a mission to really get my message out there for people.
I don’t think there was any one thing that made me feel like I’d arrived. However, when I started to get positive feedback from some of my readers, I think that made me really feel like I was making a difference, or at least inspiring them in some way. Knowing that those people are out there is what keeps me going too.
As for the future, I hope to continue blogging and grow my readership. I would like to be able to keep up with the current rate at which I do so (posting 3-4x/week). I’ve always got ideas swimming around in my head and I hope that it continues.
[PoF: I think I found your blog pretty early on in its three-year history, and it’s been fun to see it evolve with you. I can’t exactly relate to the single female professional thing you’ve got going, but many of your posts have a broad appeal.
You’ve put out some great content that I’ve featured here in The Sunday Best, and I’ll let you showcase some of your best work in the next question.]
Give me eleven posts you think Physician on FIRE readers might want to read.
Most of these are very personal stories that I hope will inspire and help anyone that may need some perspective. I think they also give a sense of my own mindset in regards to money and my approach to life in general. Maybe some readers will be able to relate. 🙂
1 – Everything happens for a reason – This is the story of how I got my job in southern California. Its an unconventional one but I think highlights some things that we should all remember. It’s also one of my favorite life stories.
2 – The power of networking – This is something that was hammered into me in business school. It’s how I got my job, and it’s how I continue to find unique things to do within my career. I think anyone can use networking to create/find new opportunities for themselves.
3 – Frugal living tips to save money when you have a HCOL – I have a high cost of living but I’ve managed to pay off student loans and incur no other debt (except my mortgage, but I’m very happy with my purchase). It’s doable. This post describes what I do and what I think about to help me stay frugal.
4 – Minimum wage to doctor’s salary: what I’ve learned about the value of money – I’ve been working since I was 15. These are some things I’ve learned about money in 20 years of work experience.
5 – MD/MBA: Reasons why I got a dual degree – I have both and this post describes my motivation for doing it. As some people have argued with me, it’s definitely not a requirement, but I do think we need more physicians at the table and this helps.
6 – Embrace the suck. Do what you hate to succeed – Sometimes you have to do things you hate in order to reach your goals. I’ve done a lot of things I hate over the years. I’m better off for it.
7 – The road to success. What you don’t see – Everyone’s path has struggles. Some more than others. I had to sacrifice quite a bit to get to where I am today. I wrote this to highlight those things that you don’t see in hopes that we all have more empathy for each other.
8 – How seeing a therapist has changed my life – I really think we need to eliminate the stigma behind mental health and therapy. I started seeing one three years ago, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
9 – 12 ways to start stepping out of your comfort zone – I think we all get comfortable in our routines, in our bubbles. Growth only happens when you push those boundaries. I think doctors, in particular, are terrible at stepping out of their comfort zones. It’s one of the reasons change is so slow in medicine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start challenging yourself. I’ve taken some of these baby steps to make myself comfortable in different scenarios in my personal life, and I think it’s carried over into my work life as well.
I don’t think any list of mine would be complete without a couple of travel posts.
10 – 11 ways solo travel will contribute to your personal growth – I think solo travel is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. This is why.
11 – The ultimate travel checklist: Be prepared for anything! – I wrote this pretty recently as a way of jotting down all the important things you should do before you go anywhere, plus all of my packing tips/tricks/advice. One day when we’re able to travel again, I hope this comes in handy!
[PoF: I love a good travel post! I have learned that my readers don’t, as evidenced by the low pageviews when I publish them, but I continue to put them out anyway. Travel is a big part of our post-FIRE life (or was prior to the pandemic) and, as you say, it is a great way to expand your understanding of the world.
I’ve found the same to be true of charitable giving. Doing so helps you grow as a person, very few people want to read about it, but I continue to write about it, anyway. If I can inspire just a few people to help out in some way, it’s worth it.]
At what age are you most likely to retire (or at what age did you retire) from full-time work? What are you doing to help realize your retirement target?
I’ve only been working for four years now as an attending. I’m lucky in that my only debt at the moment is my mortgage. I have plenty of disposable income to save and invest and I think I’m on a good trajectory to retiring earlier than normal. I want plenty of time to enjoy life after retirement.
[PoF: Based on your habits and knowledge, I’ll be surprised if you’re not financially independent in a decade or less. What you do with that FI is up to you!]
What does an ideal retirement look like for you? What will you do with your time when full-time work is in your rearview mirror?
I’m a huuuugee travel junkie. It’s my happy place. I envision retirement for me either living part time in another country, or just slowly making my way across continents.
Of course, I’ll be blogging about it all along the way.
[PoF: I look forward to continuing to follow your many journeys. Got a good camera, I hope?]
I’ll give you eleven sentences to dish out advice to a young physician. Any and all advice is welcome. We talk about personal finance, so money is fair game, but if you have advice on being a better doctor, a better parent / spouse / friend / human, we’re all ears.
I feel like I need more than 11 sentences here, but here we go (I guess I’ve got 10 left now).
1. Pay off your student debt as soon as possible; don’t let it hang over your head as it will prevent you from really being able to grow your net worth, and will stifle your career freedom.
2. Start investing as soon as you start earning, even if it’s just 20 bucks a month; compound interest is a beautiful thing but only if you give yourself the time for it to really work for you.
3. Don’t hire a financial planner or advisor, their interests are not your interests and as a doctor (or professional), you are definitely smart enough to figure out what you need to do without their input.
4. Avoid lifestyle inflation. I say this all the time in my posts, but the keeping up with the Jones’ doesn’t work because the Jones’ aren’t real! Rather than comparing what you have to others, focus instead on spending money where it really matters to you and can make a difference in your life for the better.
5. I know that doctors are the worst patients, but make it a point to prioritize and take care of your health; its the only wealth that really matters. On that same note, I refer to my post above on seeing a therapist: don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t feel ashamed if you feel you need help. Everyone needs someone to talk to and your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
6. Take your vacation time off and actually go somewhere! Your job will be fine without you (no offense but you aren’t that important or that crucial), and there is nothing more important than giving yourself a break.
7. Make it a point to develop (or re-develop) hobbies and interests outside of work. It’s one of the best ways to keep yourself sane and help you feel like you’re a whole person and not just defined by your work.
8. Imposter syndrome is a real thing and it’s something that everyone experiences to some degree. So, don’t feel alone, and don’t let it bring you down; with time and experience, this will resolve itself. On that note, practice being kind to yourself because you know more than you think, are smarter than you assume, and are definitely good enough for the job.
9. Don’t be afraid: to ask for what you want, to say no to things that don’t interest or suit you, to shake things up and do something off the beaten path.
10. I got this advice when I was a resident: Keep your head down and do your job. Your effort and work ethic will speak for themselves. You won’t need anything else to show how awesome you are, how professional, or trustworthy.
[PoF: Bonus points for 11 paragraphs rather than 11 sentences. So many excellent pearls above.]
You’ve got eleven days to visit anyplace in the world with an $11,000 budget. Where do you go and what do you do?
I don’t like repeating trips, so I’m going to pick something I haven’t done yet: an African Safari.
I’d go to either South Africa or Kenya. It’s actually on my bucket list to do that hotel in Kenya where the giraffes come up to your window while you’re eating breakfast, so maybe Kenya then.
[PoF: Kenya really eat breakfast peacefully when a giraffe is eyeing up your french toast? Puns aside, that does sound pretty cool. I have not yet been to Africa.]
Name eleven beverages you enjoy. You can be as general or specific as you like.
- Water – it’s the fountain of life
- Chai or Tea – chai, of course, is Indian tea, I grew up with the stuff. Sometimes there’s no substitute for it
- Hazelnut Coffee – I’m an anesthesiologist. This is my second fountain of life.
- Sprite – this is the only soft drink I’ll drink. I can’t stand anything else.
- Wine – Riesling is my favorite white. I’d say I lean towards pinot noirs for red or a full-bodied red blend
- Gin – any cocktail with gin in it is my go-to. Just so refreshing
- Old fashioned – but with Japanese Toki whiskey. It’s SO GOOD.
- Pilsners and wheat beers. It took me forever to choose my favorite beers, but there you have it
- Indian style lemonade – think freshly squeezed lemons, sugar, black salt. It’s a whole new level of tangy-ness
I honestly can’t come up with another two drinks. This list is basically everything I will drink. Watch, as soon as I submit this to you I’ll think of something.
[PoF: You know Sprite is caffeine-free, right? I guess when you’re hopped up on hazelnut coffee and chai, you don’t need caffeine in your soda.
I’m in the midst of a sober October in which I’ve also given up caffeine, so I’m drinking a whole lot of water and not a lot else these days.
You could get to 11 if you separate pilsners and wheat beers into two separate drinks. If you like those, a Kölsch or cream ale might be right up your alley for #11.]
Now, eleven foods.
- Pepperoni Pizza – This has been my favorite food since I was a kid and it stills hold a top spot.
- My mom’s chicken curry – There’s nothing like it anywhere.
- Thai – My favorite kind of take out. Red curry and drunken noodles are my go-to’s
- Sushi – All of it. Any kind of it.
- Indian street food. There are no words, you just have to experience it yourself.
- French fries. Curly, seasoned, truffle, whatever. My weakness
- BBQ spare ribs. My Granny orders them at Christmas. It’s the only time of year we get them. They’re disgustingly good, as in you can’t stop eating even though you’re so full you can’t breathe.
- French silk pie. I legit find it difficult to eat any other pie.
- Ghirardelli double chocolate brownies. They’re the only ones worth eating.
- Cadbury chocolates. There’s a milky goodness to them that makes them irresistible to me. (I clearly love chocolate)
- Red Lobster’s buttermilk biscuits. This is super random, and it’s definitely my midwestern, comfort food side coming out. Those biscuits are dangerous.
[PoF: This could seriously be my own list, except that I haven’t had Indian street food or your mom’s curry, and apparently I have not had anything like it anywhere.
I’ve bought the big box of Red Lobster biscuit mix at Costco to make them at home, and my Mom makes them often, too. Good stuff.]
How did you first learn about PhysicianonFIRE.com? What one piece of advice do you have for
I think you were one of the first physician bloggers I followed on Twitter. I think you just popped up on my feed and I was like “hey, fellow anesthesiologist!”
I’m pretty sure you know everything already, so my advice is basically null and void.
I guess what I could add, from something I’m fairly good at if I do say so myself, is something about travels. If/when you ever start traveling again (and maybe you do this already), go for the street food. It’s usually the best taste and the best local experience you can give yourself.
Thank you for having me!
[PoF: Thanks for playing! Always fun to hear from a fellow anesthesiologist. I may not practice anymore, but I think I’ll always identify as a gas passer.
We did quite a bit of street food during our two months in Mexico in 2019. Sometimes I paid for it the next day, but it was worth it, I tell you!]
- Just Start Investing
- Financial Success MD
- Making Sense of Cents
- You Be Three
- Financial Freedom Countdown
- Five Year FIRE Escape
- Montana Money Adventures
- Can I Retire Yet
- The Physician Philosopher
- Wealth Well Done
- Mad Fientist
- Financial Panther
- Route to Retire
- Mr. Crazy Kicks
- Miss Bonnie MD
- She Picks Up Pennies
- Go Curry Cracker
- Abandoned Cubicle
- Apathy Ends
- Root of Good
- Retire by 40
- Chief Mom Officer
- Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks
- Our Next Life
- Crispy Doc
- Distilled Dollar
- Coach Carson
- Think Save Retire
- Financially Alert
- Life of a Med Student
- The Wall Street Physician
- Dads Dollars Debts
- Full Time Finance
- From Cents to Retirement
- Gen Y Finance Guy
- Get Money Got Money
- Mr. Tako Escapes
- My Money Wizard
- Senior Resident
- Big Law Investor
- Ten Factorial Rocks
- Family Money Plan
- My Money Wizard
- ESI Money
- The Green Swan
- Smart Money MD
- The Retirement Manifesto
- J.L. Collins
- Johnny K. Johnson
- Early Retirement Now!
- Son of a Doctor
- The Happy Philosopher
- Future Proof MD
- Dr. Wise Money
- The White Coat Investor
- Mr. 1500 of 1500 Days
Got a 12th question for the Badass MD MBA behind You Be Three? Ask away!